Children's Program Training Academy
Reducing Risk, Building Resilience
The Children's Program Training Academy is all about the children, and breaking the generational cycle of addiction through resilience, empowerment and hope.
It is a fact that almost one in three children in America lives in a home where addiction to alcohol and other drugs has a strong negative impact on their childhood development. Children growing up in such an environment quickly develop defenses of not talking about their situation, expressing their feelings, or trusting those around them. They literally develop "holes in their soul," creating an environment of significantly higher risk for perpetuating the generational cycle of addiction as these children confront adolescence and pass into adulthood. Conservatively stated, children growing up in families of addiction are two to three times more likely to repeat the cycle when pressures mount.
The Betty Ford Center Children's Program Training Academy is a national training resource for:
- Agencies who wish to develop a community and/or culturally specific version of the Betty Ford Institute Children's Program in their own service area
- Clinicians and other caring professionals wanting to strengthen their skills in serving children and families hurt by alcoholism and other drug addictions
- Programs already serving this vulnerable population who want to deepen their effectiveness and insure their long-term viability.
Jerry Moe, M.A. at (760) 773-4103
or e-mail .
Monday, October 4, 1982 marked the opening of the Betty Ford Center. That morning, Mrs. Betty Ford and co-founder, Leonard Firestone greeted two female and two male patients. From this historic beginning, the Betty Ford Center has considered addiction to alcohol and other drugs to be a family disease. Besides the patient, an average of eight other people are affected.
For this reason, the Betty Ford Center, since its inception, has provided a five-day, comprehensive Family Program for family members and friends who are thirteen years of age and older.
Twenty-six years later, more than 90,000 individuals have enrolled in the Center's Residential, Outpatient, Residential Day Treatment, 90-Day and Family Programs. Experience also taught us that children younger than thirteen needed to be included in the recovery process. Left out of the recovery process, they remained at a substantially higher risk to repeat the generational cycle of addiction.
In the early 1990s, the staff of the Family Program created a unique intervention, prevention and education program to address the special needs of children aged seven through twelve. This four-day program of empowerment focuses on strengthening a child's natural resilience and providing him or her with the tools to overcome misunderstanding and fear. Through the program children learn that they are not alone in their situation, that the addicted person in their life is not "bad," but has an illness, and that they are not responsible for causing, changing or controlling the chaos in an addictive family environment. These insights can replace fear and misunderstanding with a sense of empowerment and hope.
After several years of success involving the children of our own patients, and in response to requests from alumni around the country, the Betty Ford Center began offering the Children's Program to families in Southern California who had no patient connection to the Center. The impact on these children matched the responses of the children on campus. The needs of the children were universal, and deeper than even suspected.
Challenged to venture further from the security of our own geographic area, in 1998, we opened a satellite office in Dallas-Fort Worth. In 2006, a second satellite office for the Children's Program was opened in Denver, Colorado, making three programs in all. During the past fifteen years, over 20,000 children and family members have attended the Children's Program. Because the program has attracted such a solid base of supporters who recognize the vulnerability of children and wish to help this "at high risk" population, over 90% of the families participate on scholarship.
Children from forty-nine states and many countries have attended. In the Spring of 2007, the program was presented for the first time ever in China.
With a generation of children who are growing up "at risk," the success of the Betty Ford Institute Children's Program has prompted numerous requests for services from other agencies, professionals and programs around the country. Our response is the creation of the Children's Program Training Academy.
Jerry Moe, M.A. is the Vice-President and National Director of Children's Programs at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; and Denver, Colorado. An Advisory Board Member of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA), he is internationally known as an author, lecturer and trainer on issues for young children from addicted families. Mr. Moe received the 2005 America Honors Recovery Award from the Johnson Institute and in 2000 received the prestigious Ackerman/Black Award from NACoA for "significantly improving the lives of children of alcoholics in the United States and around the world" the 1995 Promise Award in Texas for helping children grow up principled, valued and caring, and in 1993 the Marty Mann Award for outstanding communication in the alcoholism and addiction field. Jerry Moe's books include: Kids' Power: Healing Games for Children of Alcoholics; Conducting Support Groups for Elementary Children; Discovery... Finding the Buried Treasure; Kids' Power Too: Words to Grow By; The Children's Place... At the Heart of Recovery; and the Beamer Series for Kids. Mr. Moe's work has been featured on the Today Show, People Are Talking, NBC's Newsmagazine Cover to Cover, Good Morning America, Texas and Nickelodeon News, Parents, Time, McCalls, YM and Parenting magazines, as well as the Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and USA Today. Mr. Moe has been developing programs and facilitating groups for children from addicted families since 1977.